The Value of Social Media Prioritization

Priority (noun)the state or quality of being earlier in time, occurrence, etc. the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.

Last week I wrote a post about how KYC has decided to change its social media strategy. The process of discussing those changes got us thinking about prioritization. It’s a conversation we have with nearly every prospect or client, but having it about ourselves is a bit different since in this situation, we’re making the ultimate decision.

When we have this conversation with clients they always say they understand it and that prioritization makes sense. Yet, when we get into more detailed conversations analyzing each channel and making recommendations to stop using a channel or cut back on the effort put toward one, they can’t help themselves. They resist prioritization. In some cases that resistance is so strong that coming out of the conversation they actually want to do more (with the same budget, of course), spreading themselves even thinner. It’s the antithesis of prioritization.

How does it end up this way? Some people just can’t bare to stop using a channel. Prioritizing your activities doesn’t always mean killing a channel, but if we’re having an honest conversation about prioritizing, it often does. When we give that recommendation, we’re usually met with one of two responses:

“But we can’t just stop using it.”

or

“But it’s easy enough to just put the same content there that we used on another channel. It can become a checkbox.”

Let’s dissect each of these responses.

But we can’t just stop using it. Why not? Some people view social media as a mass marketing technique, and to a degree, it is. Yes, you can reach a lot of people through social media channels (I disagree with viewing social media as mass marketing, but for the sake of this argument, let’s acknowledge some of its mass marketing properties). But what if you aren’t actually reaching a lot of people through a channel? Of course, follower count isn’t everything, so what if you have low engagement on a certain channel? What if you’re using a channel for conversion and aren’t seeing any?

People who are afraid to stop using a channel feel like they’re missing an opportunity to reach people. I’m not going to lie - it is. But think about it at a deeper level. Let’s say you’re seeing minimal returns on Facebook, but huge returns on Pinterest. With the time you’re spending on Facebook hoping you see returns, you’re sacrificing time that could be spent on Pinterest where you know you’re driving return. So in this scenario, you’re losing potential return from Pinterest, a known value, with your time spent on Facebook.

If you’re a huge, global business with a $75,000+ budget, then it probably doesn’t make sense to stop using a channel altogether. But if you’re a smaller brand or have a small budget, stop using channels where you aren’t seeing returns. Play to your strengths and maximize your budget.

But it’s easy enough to just put the same content there that we used on another channel. It can become a checkbox. If you put the same content on all channels, what incentive do people have to follow you on multiple channels? If they can get the same thing on Twitter as they do on LinkedIn, then why should they bother following you on LinkedIn? Not only is that a boring strategy for your followers, it’s a lazy strategy on your part.

Social media content should take three things into account: your audience, your brand and the context of the environment.

If you’re publishing the same content to multiple channels you’re missing the mark on at least two of those three:

Audience - when people fail to prioritize, they often don’t have a good enough understanding of their audience and where they are, so they hope they can reach them by focusing everywhere. That’s really not focus though. It’s simply uninformed hope.

Context of the environment - the social channels are part of that environment and people have developed expectations for the content they see on various channels. Those expectations are very different for Facebook than for LinkedIn, for example. If you’re pushing the same thing on both channels, you’re overlooking the context of each channel, in other words, what your audience wants and expects.

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You want to use social media to help drive something for your brand - awareness, engagement, conversion, advocacy, etc. When you aren’t prioritizing your efforts, you lose track of what you’re trying to accomplish, and in the process, can confuse your audience. Don’t be afraid. It’s ok to miss some people if you’re making more of an impact with those you are reaching. If you’re a small brand or have a small budget - prioritize. Focus on doing a really good job with a few channels, not using every channel simply so you have a presence on each.